He who must not be named: how Harry Potter helps make sense of Trump’s world

2 days ago

For fans of the wizard series, the new political order is Dumbledores army v President Voldemort. Is it merely a juvenile comparing or have JK Rowlings books shaped a generations thinking?

Every generation has its go-to pop-culture political analogy. For decades, it was Star Wars. Its easy to see how Reagans 80 s space-based weapons shield initiative earned its nickname, for example, but the reference has endured, to the extent that White House chief strategist Steve Bannon expressed his admiration for the dark side in a recent interview: Darkness is good. Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan. Thats power. But one name was missing from that listing: Voldemort.

The Harry Potter villain has risen again over the past couple of years, as fans have described comparisons, often humorously, between a world under threat from a narcissistic tyrant and that of the Harry Potter volumes. In February, Bannon was the subject of a Buzzfeed quiz that asked, Who Told It: Steve Bannon or Lord Voldermort ?; it was harder than you might have thought. JK Rowlings readers have grown up at approximately the same pace as Harry, Ron and Hermione, and with its hundreds of millions of book marketings and the massive success of the movie adaptations, the series reach has been enormous.

What Harry Potter has given a generation is a simple narrative of good triumphing over evil, and, as a result, it has been a frequent and controversial point of reference in this time of political divisiveness. At the worldwide Womens Marches in January, there were plenty of homemade signs that indicated Princess Leia as the face of a new resistance, but there were as many Potter ones, such as Dumbledores army, inspirational quotes from the series and references to Hermiones role in Harrys survival. Perhaps these placards had been inspired by an outpouring of affection for the books following the US election in November, as people began to post quotes on Twitter. Order of the Phoenix, mount up, wrote Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. There is even a Chrome extension that changes any mention of Donald Trump or his cabinet to the name of a notable Death Eater. Install it, and your browser will instantly refer to Betsy DeVos as Dolores Umbridge, Jeff Sessions as Antonin Dolohov or Rex Tillerson as Draco Malfoy.

Placards
Placards at the Girl March in Washington DC. Photo: Patsy Lynch/ REX/ Shutterstock

I would have been nine or 10 when I started read it, tells Jamie MacColl, 26, the guitarist in Bombay Bicycle Club. Last year MacColl set up the campaign group Undivided, which aims to ensure young peoples voices are heard in Brexit negotiations, and he recently appeared on the BBC Question Time panel. I remember the craze to read each new volume within minutes of it coming out, and queueing up in the midst of the night at the bookshop to get it. He says that he can only think of their political or social message in light of JK Rowlings transparently left-leaning Twitter presence. I think she has a similar kind of politics to me. But one of the things that struck me at the time was that it didnt matter who you were. Hermione had no wizard blood and was by far the most capable.

The broad central message of the Potter volumes is diversity and acceptance of difference. As the characters grow older, and the books more complex and matured, the political the effects of not heeding this doctrine become darker and more imperil. The baddies insistence on the superiority of purebloods over mudbloods has overtones of ethnic cleansing; the Death Eaters are fascistic. It would be mean-spirited to spoil the carefully guarded plot of The Cursed Child for those with tickets to see it, but it is fair to say that there is plenty in the play that stimulates this association clear.

Its a lot of fun to update the references and see how Rowlings vision works for the current epoch. Throughout the series, the Ministry of Magic is full of incompetent, pervert, bumbling figures whose only ambition is to cling on to power. The press is untrustworthy and hysterical. In a magical premonition of phone-hacking, the journalist Rita Skeeter transforms herself into a beetle in order to report on details nobody else could know about. The Daily Prophet is often used as a marionette of the system in order to sway popular positions. About the recent Potter prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rowling told, I was partly inspired by the rise of populism around the world .~ ATAGEND The explanation of the anti-magic sentiment rippling through 1920 s New York in the film could be taken from Brexit Britain: When No-Majs[ American for muggle] are afraid, they attack.

Steve
Steve Bannon, who recently told: Darkness is good. Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan. Thats power. Photo: REX/ Shutterstock

In 2013, Anthony Gierzynski, a prof of political science at the University of Vermont, published a study called Harry Potter and the Millennials: Research Methods and the Politics of the Muggle Generation, co-authored with Kathryn Eddy. It aimed to answer the question of whether the Harry Potter narrative had influenced the politics of millennials. In the introduction, Gierzynski discusses, with what now looks like quaint naivety, online comparings that at the time variously likened Voldemort to Rick Perry and Dick Cheney.

To say the political scenery has changed is an understatement, he tells me. We have a chairwoman whose rhetoric promotes intolerance and who fits the typical authoritarian personality. I would think the Harry Potter lessons are even more relevant today than they were for the 2012 election.

Rowling herself nodded to a Trump/ Voldemort comparison back in 2015, when Trump first proposed a ban on Muslims entering the US. How horrible. Voldemort was nowhere near even worse, she tweeted. The connect has been made by others, and often; there are countless memes comparing the president to He Who Must Not Be Named.( Intriguingly, when criticising Trump in recent speeches or interviews, celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Kristen Stewart have declined to address him by name, a stance shared with many US activists .)

In the case of Trump, Gierzynski indicates, a better reference point would be an incompetent Ministry of Magic, Cornelius Fudge-type figure. But he also points out that hurling names around is unlikely to be helpful in the long run. Calling anyone Voldemort is problematic in terms of the debate you might have. It shuts down the debate, he tells. If you have a discussion[ about] what happens with these kinds of leaders, and how this leads to an fanaticism of out groups that is where the value of the Harry Potter series is, to me. It can provide lessons about how you deal with that sort of injustice and intolerance.

In 2016, Diana Mutz, prof of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Institute for the Study of Citizens and Politics, published a paper called Harry Potter and the Deathly Donald, which cautiously was contended that reading Harry Potter or watching the movies lowered Americans opinions of Trump and his policies. Stories can sway peoples opinions; Harry Potter is just one that happens to have been read and viewed by a massive number of people. This stimulates it potentially more influential than most tales, she tells me by email. Fictional stories are more than simply analogies; they are a time-honoured style of influencing sentiments. Think of Uncle Toms Cabin and American attitudes towards slavery.

Michael
Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. Photograph: Warner Bros/ Sportsphoto/ Allstar

Like Gierzynski, Mutz suggests that the messages of tolerance and diversity in the Harry Potter world have influenced the beliefs of its readers, rather than reflecting an existing point of view. But she was surprised by the strength of the backlash she received upon publication of the paper. I have never received more hate mail than in response to this study; its a bit scary, to be honest. Clearly, people who like Donald Trump are uncomfortable with the studys findings, but with empirical data, you dont get to choose your findings. They are what they are, she says.( The current climate is so toxic that Gierzynski also expressed concern. Theres a bit of fear in our discourse. Usually, when I talk to journalists, I wouldnt worry, but these days I do .)

Trump advocates are not alone in criticising the use of Harry Potter as a political analogy. In a scathing post-election column for Esquire last November, Corey Atad wrote that even though he considers himself to be an enormous Harry Potter fan, he found the comparison of Trump to Voldemort, and the idea of an opposition that is Dumbledores army, to be repellent. In tweet after shameful tweet, intellectually and emotionally stunted adults sought to place the election of a fascistic president in terms they could easily understand, he wrote. The Huffington Post operated a narrative that called Trump/ Voldemort comparings inane and condescending, while Matthew Dessem, a writer for Slate, was similarly outraged: Are you fucking kidding me with this shit? … This is really happening.

All three pieces were written in the immediate aftermath of the election; the anger and anxiety is palpable and understandable. But the idea of using fictional narratives to understand and construe the world is as old as day; it is no coincidence that sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaids Tale have risen since November. If, as academics such as Mutz and Gierzynski argue, the Harry Potter series has created a generation of people who are more open-minded and tolerant of change owing to the books they read as children, then it seems far from juvenile and reductive.

Besides, there is little to suggest that tweeting a Dumbledore quote is as far as a Potter fan might take it. In June last year, Yeni Lopez Sleidi, the editor of the site wwwayward, attained posters of Donald Trump underneath a motivational quote: There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it. Potter fans may recognise these words as are subordinate to Professor Quirrell, recollecting what the Dark Lord taught him. Sleidi sold a number of posters to Trump advocates and donated the profits to Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, a charity that supports LGBTQ Latino communities. If the purchaser had put the posters on their walls and turned off the lightings, they would have found that their purchase had a secret: in the dark, Trump vanishes, to be replaced by a glowing green image of Voldemort. Now thats magic.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Win another one for The Gipper? Newspaper endorses Reagan for chairwoman

10 days ago

Washington( CNN) The San Diego Union-Tribune has some advice for #NeverTrump Republican — vote for the late former President Ronald Reagan, instead.

You read that right. The editorial board for the daily newspaper wrote an op-ed Thursday saying it cannot endorse Donald Trump for president.

What Trump did this week: Jerusalem triggers ire as Mueller follows the money

17 days ago

Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as Israels capital, as it emerged Deutsche Bank has provided Mueller with bank the recording of Trump affiliates

As the first anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration approaches, the president seems keen to get points on the members of the security council in ways that don’t involve the interminable compromises and reversals of Congress- last week’s tax vote in the Senate notwithstanding. This week, he outraged liberals on a number of fronts where he has unilateral power, with moves on national monuments and the status of Jerusalem and full-throated backing for controversial Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Last weekend

‘It
‘ It was his tweets about Flynn that landed him in trouble .’ Photograph: Evan Vucci/ AP

Following his former national security consultant Michael Flynn’s guilty plea in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling with the 2016 election, Trump went on a Twitter tear. The chairwoman lashed out at a San Francisco court‘s” miscarriage of justice “; the FBI (” its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History !”); an agent who was removed from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation squad because of anti-Trump text (” Now it all starts to make sense !”); a suspended ABC News reporter (” False and Dishonest “); and of course perennial targets Hillary Clinton and” the’ Justice’ Department “.

Timeline

The key events in the Trump-Russia investigation

2015

GCHQ advises US intelligence

Britain’s spy agency GCHQ becomes aware of suspicious “interactions” between people with Trump ties and Russian intelligence operatives. In late 2015, GCHQ cautions US intelligence.

10 March 2016

Hacking and ‘influence campaign’

The first phishing emails begin to hit Democratic someones( the Democratic National Committee having been hacked months earlier ). Hundreds or thousands of impostor accounts appear on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

31 March 2016

Trump foreign policy meeting

Trump is told about the Russian contacts of at least one aide, and Jeff Sessions shoots down a possible Trump-Putin meeting, according to multiple people present. Later Trump and Sessions repeatedly deny there had ever been such contacts by anyone in the campaign with Russian operatives.

9 June 2016

Trump tower session

Top Trump campaign advisers including Donald Trump Jr meet at Trump Tower with Russian spies, having been promised “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.” A Russian present says sanctions were discussed.

18 July 2016

Republican national convention

The convention convenes in Cleveland, Ohio. Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak attends. Top Trump campaign aides vociferously deny contacts with Russian spies. WikiLeaks releases 44,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee.

September 2016

Publication of emails

Across the Fall, outlets including WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks publish tens of thousands of emails stolen from Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

September 2016

The Facebook campaign

As Russian impostor accounts spread divisive propaganda throughout social media over the Fall, the Trump campaign experiments aggressively with micro-targeting on Facebook, making on an “average day” 50,000 -6 0,000 ads, according to former digital director Brad Parscale

September 2016

Contacts and refusals

Top Trump campaign aides Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner and others have dozens of contacts with Russian spies that are repeatedly denied in public across the Fall. “It never happened, ” a campaign spokeswoman said two days after the election.” There was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign.”

8 November 2016

Trump elected

Donald Trump is elected president of the United States.

December 2016- January 2017

Presidential transition

Trump aides keep up the relations with Russian operatives in the case of policy and appear to hide those dialogues from the US government and public. Michael Flynn lied to the FBI about the conversations, then later admitted that Jared Kushner had directed him to seek certain policy commitments from the Russian ambassador.

9 May 2017

James Comey fired

Trump fires the FBI director.” When I decided to only do it, I said to myself, I told ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story’, ” Trump tells an interviewer two days later.

Thank you for your feedback.

But it was his tweets about Flynn that landed him in difficulty. A claim that” I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI” opened the president to accusations that Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI( international crimes) where reference is asked former FBI director James Comey to go easy on him, something that would strengthen any case of blockage of justice. The next day, Trump renewed his denial that he ever stimulated that request of Comey and his lawyer John Dowd claimed– to some scepticism– that he had been the one who wrote the offending tweet.

Whether or not that was true, on Sunday Trump suffered a blow in his recent reported tries to cast doubt on the authenticity of the notorious 2005 Access Hollywood” grab them by the pussy” tape that nearly derailed his campaign. Writing in the New York Times, Billy Bush, the other voice on the tape, stated bluntly:” Of course he said it .”

Monday

Beverly
Beverly Young Nelson, pictured with her yearbook, accused Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16. Photo: Tami Chappell/ AFP/ Getty Images

Trump made it crystal clear he was endorsing Moore in next week’s Alabama Senate election, presenting a voted in favour of the Republican- who denies accusations of sexual harassment including one involving a 14 -year-old girl- as crucial for the GOP agenda. He then phoned Moore to tell him:” Go get’ em, Roy !” Trump has also been accused of sex misconduct by numerous girls, and also denies the accusations.

The same day, the president travelled to Utah to announce the dramatic shrink of two national monuments- the biggest elimination of public lands protection in US history.

Tuesday

Robert
Robert Mueller in Washington. Photograph: Charles Dharapak/ AP

It emerged that Deutsche Bank has provided special advise Mueller with bank records of Trump affiliates. In July, Trump said he would consider it a red line if Mueller started analyzing his or his family’s finances.” I think that’s a violation ,” he said.

Wednesday

Protest
Protest outside the American embassy in London against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Photograph: Barritt/ REX/ Shutterstock

In the teeth of vociferous opponent around the globe, Trump announced US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. International critics said the status of the city- half of which is claimed by the Palestinians as their own capital- should be left to peace negotiations. Trump pledged to induce the change on the campaign trail, pleasing pro-Israel conservatives, evangelical Christians whose theological beliefs involve backing the Jewish country, and some parts of the US Jewish community, including Sheldon Adelson, a donor who gave Trump millions in 2016.

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Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops in West Bank- video

An attempt by some Democrats to start impeachment proceedings against Trump was voted down in the House. Despite pressure from liberal activists for congressional Democrats to push for impeachment, they are reluctant to do so before Mueller finishes police investigations, for dread of jumping the gun, and are also conscious that any impeachment process might actually bolster is supportive of Trump, as it seemed to with Bill Clinton. Impeachment requires a majority of the House and two thirds of the Senate to pass- something vanishingly unlikely while Republican are in charge of both.

Thursday

Melania
Melania and Donald Trump attend a Hanukkah reception at the White House. Photo: Drew Angerer/ Getty Images

A fairly quiet day for Trump ensure him mark the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack that led to the US’s entry into the second world war, celebrate his Jerusalem decision at the White House Hanukkah party … and make one of his occasional forays into arts criticism.” Go get the new volume on Andrew Jackson by Brian Kilmeade … Really good ,” he tweeted, adding, presumably to indicate his source: “@ foxandfriends “.

Friday

CNN was forced into an embarrassing climbdown after getting a key date incorrect in a narrative reporting that an encryption key to unlock hacked material was emailed to Trump and his son two months before the presidential election. Donald Trump Jr was quick to demand a retraction, which he got. It must have been fulfilling for the first son after he attracted ridicule earlier in the week, when he quoth attorney-client privilege in refusing to discuss with lawmakers dialogues he had with his father regarding his controversial 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

” If you’re Bob Mueller and you get an interview of Donald Trump Jr, this is going to be one of the three or four main topics in your outline ,” said Andy Wright, a former White House associate attorney under Barack Obama.” Like at the Roman numeral level .”

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Kevin Durant spurns Trump as squads vow to fund Confederate statue removal

18 days ago

Kevin Durant is the latest athletics starring to disassociate himself from Donald Trump

Kevin Durant is the latest sports starring to disassociate himself from Donald Trump.

The NBA finals MVP said he will not join his team-mates should the Golden State Warriors visit the White House to celebrate their championship win earlier this year. Nah, I wont do that, Durant told ESPN. I dont respect whos in office right now.

On Tuesday, the NBAs biggest superstar, LeBron James, took a swipe at Trump, describing him as a so-called chairwoman who has constructed abhor fashionable. This week Trump has been sharply denouncedfor defending some of the far-right marchers involved in the recent violence in Charlottesville, telling: Not all of those people were neo-Nazis , not all of those people were white supremacists.

On Saturday, a woman was killed after a vehicle was intentionally driven into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville.

Teams traditionally visit the White House after a championship victory, although the Warriors have yet to receive a formal invitation. There have been rumors Golden State will boycott the ceremony. The teams coach-and-four, Steve Kerr, has been critical of Trump in the past.

I dont agree with what[ Trump] agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that, said Durant, who added he did not speak for his squad. Thats only me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, theyll all agree with me.

Durant said he has no doubt that Trump is having a negative effect on race relations in the US. Hes definitely driving it, Durant told. I feel ever since hes got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided and its not a coincidence. When[ Barack] Obama was in office, things were appearing up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first.

So, to see that, and to be where we are now, it merely felt like we took a turning for the worse, man. It all comes from who is in the administration. It comes from the top leadership trickles down to the rest of us. So, you know, if we have person in office that doesnt care about all people, then we wont go anywhere as a country. In my views, until we get him out of here, we wont insure any progress.

The violence in Charlottesville came after white supremacists gathered to protest the removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E Lee. On Thursday, Trump condemned the removal of such beautiful statues and monuments. Some professional sports team disagree: on Thursday, Tampa, Floridas teams the Lightning( NHL ), the Rays( MLB) and the Buccaneers( NFL) said they would help fund the removal of a Confederate statue that stands in front of the local courthouse.

Tampa Bay Lightning (@ TBLightning)

A joint statement from us, @raysbaseball,& @tbbuccaneers regarding the movement to remove the Confederate monument from downtown Tampa. pic.twitter.com/ U87JQsYXO4

August 17, 2017

Also on Thursday, another squad built steps to break with its past. The Boston Red Sox principal owner, John henry, said the team would lead efforts to rename Yawkey Way, on which Fenway Park stands. The street is named for Tom Yawkey, owned of the team from 1933 until his death in 1976. During his tenure, Yawkey earned a reputation for represent one of the most racist figures in baseball. His beliefs were the main reason why the Red Sox were the last of the pre-expansion MLB clubs to accept black players. They did not have an African American player until calling up Pumpsie Green in 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson violated major league baseballs color line.

The Red Sox dont control the naming or renaming of streets, Henry told the Boston Herald in an email. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can particularly in our African American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully.

Professional sports in the US have insured a number of protests over the past year. Colin Kaepernick and Michael Bennett are among the NFL players to have sat out the national anthem in protest at racial injustice in the US. Durant paid tribute to their efforts on Thursday. As far as whats going on in our country, for one as canadian athletes, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3[ Chris Paul ], Dwyane Wade for starting that dialogue last year. Russell Westbrook also said something … A lot of guys with platforms have drove the conversation in a good direction. And whats going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Rod Rosenstein: ‘honorable’ US attorney poised to be next Russia investigator

27 days ago

With Jeff Sessions recusal, the widely admired nominee for deputy attorney general could be dropped into the thick of the Trump administration controversy

As a young justice department lawyer, Rod Rosenstein was tapped to join Kenneth Starrs Whitewater investigation into Bill and Hillary Clintons real estate dealings. He depicted an uncommon ability with public corruption occurrences, demonstrating a wisdom and sensitivity beyond his years, his supervisors told.

Now Rosenstein, who induced his reputation as a competent, apolitical US attorney who served both Bush and Obama, may investigate another chairpeople ties to an even more high-profile scandal.

The us attorney general, Jeff Sessions, pledged on Thursday he would recuse himself from supervising any investigations of Russias role in the 2016 election. I should not be involved in investigating a campaign I had a role in, he said, a decision that came as bipartisan pressure from Congress over his failure to disclose two meetings with Russias ambassador during the election year.

Sessions recusal could immediately set Rosenstein into a much higher-profile position than he might have imagined when he was nominated to serve as deputy us attorney general. If corroborated, he would supervise any justice department investigation into Russian interference in the election including any contacts between Russia and members of the Trump campaign.

Rosenstein, who is currently the US attorney in Maryland, was a surprising option to serve as the No 2 official in Trumps justice department, told Philip Heymann, who was Rosensteins law professor at Harvard, and later his boss in the Clinton justice department. Rosenstein has served in the Department of Justice for 26 years, including in the tax division, the public integrity segment, and as an assistant US attorney in Maryland.

Rosenstein is a skilled prosecutor and a straight shooter, with a deep knowledge of the day-to-day runs of the department, but he did not seem especially close to either Sessions or Trump, Heymann told.

It surprises me that they didnt pick somebody who was more partisan, he said.

James Cole, who served for four years as Eric Holders deputy attorney general, also offered unqualified praise for Rosensteins skill and credibility.

He doesnt make any decisions that either are or appear to be political, he told.

Questions on the Russia investigation are likely to be at the center of Rosensteins confirmation hearing on Tuesday. He declined to comment.

Some observers have noted that during the Nixon administration, Senate Democrat used the confirmation process of Nixons us attorney general picking, Elliot Richardson, as leveraging and refused to confirm him for the job until he named a special prosecutor to supervise the Watergate investigation. Senate Democrat could take a similar approach to Rosensteins confirmation and demand a special prosecutor on Russias interference in the 2016 election, the Intercept suggested on Thursday.

On Sunday night, Richard Blumenthal, one of the Democrat on the Senate judiciary committee, vowed on Twitter that he would use every possible tool to block DOJ Deputy AG nominee unless he commits to appoint[ an] independent special prosecutor.

Heymann said both Democrats and Republican would trust Rosenstein and that he was the perfect person to oversee an investigation into Russias interference in the US election an issue both Democrats and Trump have framed, in different ways, as an inquiry that strikes at the heart of Trumps legitimacy as chairperson.

I think were very lucky to have him in that stance, he said.

In February, the Baltimore Sun, Rosensteins hometown paper, called him an honorable public servant with wide bipartisan supporting who was too good to sell his soul by taking a task in the Trump administration.

Just dont go there. Say no to President Trump, a member of the Sunshine editorial committee advised Rosenstein in an open letter.

Former colleagues praised Rosensteins restraint. He understands that the justice departments role is to do justice rather than bring instances, told Steve Levin, a former federal prosecutor who worked for Rosenstein in Baltimore. Even as he rose into a politically appointed stance, he maintained the approach and the attitude of a career attorney, Levin said.

He is very professional and very determined to be the best prosecutor that he can be and he doesnt take that to entail the most aggressive prosecutor, Heymann said.

Heymann, a longtime justice department official, worked with the Watergate prosecutor, Archibald, Cox on the investigation that led to Nixons resignation, and was also part of investigations into Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. He said Rosensteins lack of a close relationship with Trump or Sessions could, paradoxically, induce his job supervising any investigation of Russian interference harder.

I think hes in an extremely challenging position. Ive learned over many, many years its easier to be independent if youre a close friend of the chairman than if youre not, he said, explaining the importance of having a presidents trust. I would anticipate that the White House would be very worried about anybody that they didnt are familiar.

As Marylands US attorney, Levin told, Rosenstein has gone after corrupt police officers and prison guards as well as violent gang members. This week, his office announced the arrest of 7 Baltimore police officer for racketeering.

Rosenstein has also worked to crack down on national security leaks, announcing charges last fall in a high-profile lawsuit against a National Security Agency contractor for stealing classified information.

In response to questions about Russias interference in the election he won, Trump has repeatedly was contended that the real scandal is not the endeavor of a foreign power to sway an American election, but “the member states national” security leaks that have made new slants of the questions populace.

Rosensteins predecessor as US attorney in Maryland triggered grievances that he was unfairly targeting Democrat in public corruption examples using his office as a political weapon. Rosenstein brought more stability to the office. When he has gone after public officials as US attorney, he did it an even-handed and a fair way, told Cole, the Obama justice official.

The deputy us attorney general is the justice departments chief operation officer, with broad officials responsible for overseeing litigation, crime-fighting strategy, and the federal governments national security policy. If confirmed, he will end up in the situation room a lot, Cole said.

During his confirmation hearing, Sessions built no mention of the two meetings he had with Russias ambassador during the election year, even when asked directly if he had been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election. Saying the prosecutor general appeared to have lied under oath, some Democrats are continuing to demand that he resign. Sessions said that he should have mentioned the meetings with diplomat Sergey Kislyak, but that he did not recall any specific political discussions.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Sexist attitudes make it very hard to stop sexual harassment

28 days ago

Image: Getty Images/ iStockphoto

This week, the most famous members of the Trump family took turns discussing sexual harassment. At the heart of the most outrageous remarks were assumptions about the victim’s role and responsibility in preventing and responding to such harassment sentiments that provoked considerable outrage.

Those statements reflect an important and fundamental misunderstanding of why sexual harassment occurs in the workplace. Though it might be a onetime showing of poor judgment or a misunderstanding between co-workers in some cases, sexual harassment is ultimately a symptom of much bigger problem: sexism.

Sexism can be subtle, personified for instance by a male supervisor who considers himself progressive but addresses merely men in meetings. It can be outright, like a Ceo who crudely comments on the physical appearance of women.( This might voice familiar to Donald J. Trump .)

“For my entire life, Ive heard men talk about girls … Ive listened to humen dissect women around body parts.”

Either way, the faith that females are lesser than humen, or should be viewed mainly as sex objects, generates the conditions for sexual harassment to thrive in any workplace even those with so-called zero-tolerance policies.

Last month in a New York Times op-ed, former hedge fund trader Sam Polk induced the bleak connection between the thoughtless dehumanization of women and workplace culture that curbs their potential and subjects them to humiliation.

Polk recalls male colleagues telling, “I’d like to get behind that, ” about their fellow female coworkers. One senior executive asked Polk if he’d “gotten laid” and then lamented when Polk responded that he hadn’t. Too bad. When I was your age, it was like shooting fish in a barrel, ” the executive said.

This might seem like harmless chatter to some, but Polk watches something better malicious afoot 😛 TAGEND

For my entire life, Ive heard men talking here girls. On baseball field, in wrestling locker rooms, at frat parties and in private conversations, Ive listened to men dissect women into body parts …[ M] ost of the sexism on Wall Street occurs when women arent in the room. ‘Bro talk’ renders a force field of disrespect and exclusion that constructs it incredibly difficult for women to ascend the Wall Street ladder. When you create a culture where women are casually torn apart in dialogue, how can you ever stomach promoting them, or working for them?

This dynamic is what attains sexual harassment so difficult to combat. Even if a victim reports her harasser’s behaviour, there’s no ensure an intervention by human resources will result in an investigation and punishment, much less address the root of the problem: insidious, deeply held belief about a woman’s worth.

Polk’s disturbing confession which many girls have long known to be true is a far cry from the manner in which the Trump family discussed sexual harassment this week. Instead of talking candidly about why sexual harassment happens, both Donald Trump and his son initially suggested that the main victims is both responsible for the behavior and its consequences.

I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.

First the Republican presidential nominee used to say if his daughter Ivanka experienced the kind of sexual harassment that Roger Ailes, former Fox News CEO, is accused of commit, he would expect her hanging in there( never mind how that’s impossible for the non-wealthy or that she might encounter similar or even worse behavior elsewhere ).

I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the occurrence, he told Kirsten Powers, a paid political contributor to Fox News and contributor to USA Today . He soon rewrote his out-of-touch stance by telling the Washington Post that it’s up to the individual, and a victim might stay or leave depending on her alternatives.

The outrage, however, only intensified when Trump’s son Eric indicated in an interview with CBS that some females could avoid sexual harassment with the right personality traits.

“I think what he’s saying is, Ivanka is a strong, powerful female, she wouldn’t let herself to be objected to it, ” Eric Trump said of his father’s original comments, “and by the way, you should take it up with human resources, and I suppose she would as a strong person, at the same time, I don’t guess she would allow herself to be subjected to that.”( In fact, Ivanka Trump wrote about experiencing sexual harassment at work, including at her father’s construction sites .)

Megyn Kelly, a Fox News anchor who reportedly told researchers that she’d been harassed by Ailes, could muster only a “sigh” in a Twitter response. Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson, whose sexual harassment lawsuit against Ailes ultimately led to his resignation, tweeted, “Trust me I’m strong.”

Surveys indicate that many females experience sexual harassment; depending on the type of questionnaire and sample, the incidence rate may be between 40% and 75% of female workers, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

And yet few women report such abuse. The EEOC’s research found that the least common response to sexual harassment is filing a formal complaint because victims may fear retaliation, shame, skepticism, inactivity and ostracism. Reporting an allegation to human resources, as many women have painfully detected, is rarely a cure-all.

“Having a policy is good, but its not sufficient, ” says Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality at the National Womens Law Center. “Its simply a piece of paper living in a binder or on a companys website unless its devoted teeth.”

“[ A policy] is just a piece of paper living in a binder or on a companys website unless its devoted teeth.”

Raghu says that preventing sexual harassment means changing social norms and workplace culture. Top leadership, for example, must champion respectful policies and behaviours. Human resources departments must have the time and financial resources to not only develop educates relevant to their employees’ requires, but also to prioritize investigating accusations and delivering prompt results. If person transgresses the policy, there must be consequences.

Ivanka Trump was the only is part of their own families who acknowledged that organizational culture is paramount in preventing sexual harassment.

In an interview with Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, she described harassment as “inexcusable” and focused on a company’s role in addressing the problem. “We have a very strong HR team at the Trump Organization, who is equipped to deal with these issues if they originate … and you hope you have a culture in which they dont arise, ” she told. “But when they do, it needs to be dealt with swiftly.”

Ivanka Trump’s answer would be heartening if it didn’t reveal considerable differences in opinion between top executives at the Trump Organization. It’s worth asking why Ivanka’s brother and father constructed such tone-deaf remarks if her portrait of their company culture is accurate. Such differences are a prime example of the challenges that remain as workplaces try to eradicate sexual harassment.

Last year, the EEOC was so “deeply troubled” by the slow progress, and the number of sexual harassment grievances it continued to receive, that it assembled a task force to “reboot workplace harassment prevention efforts.”

In its recent report, which covers all types of harassment, the task force members laid out a comprehensive prevention strategy and argued that it’s not sufficient for companies to focus on legal liability. Instead, they must conduct trainings that describe unacceptable behaviour that could eventually rise to the level of illegal harassment. The report also proposed their own nationals workplace campaign similar to the It’s On Us initiative to prevent sexual assault on high school and college campuses.

Such measures are essential if we want to change the culture that permits sexual harassment. If this week’s debate can teach us anything, it’s that people still don’t understand why that behavior occurs in the workplace, and that well-intentioned policies aren’t enough.

We must expect and demand that females are implicitly and explicitly treated with dignity at work anything less sustains the sexism that dedicates way, with often tragic outcomes, to sexual harassment.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments .

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Paul Ryan’s Response To Donald Trump: LOL

1 month, 7 days ago

WASHINGTON — When Donald Trump issued security threats to Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday night, telling Ryan would pay a “big price” if he didn’t get along with Trump, the speaker was watching — and he wasn’t very scared.

“I merely laughed out loud, ” Ryan told reporters Thursday , noting that he saw the Trump press conference live. “Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction around here these days.”

The real estate mogul issued his threat after winning big on Super Tuesday, and after Ryan condemned the idea that Republican might be OK with the Ku Klux Klan.

“Paul Ryan, I do not know him well, but I’m sure we will get on with, ” Trump told. “And if we don’t, he will have to pay a big price, OK? “

Ryan said he didn’t actually think anything of Trump’s remarks, but the Wisconsin Republican made it clear several times Thursday that he has disagreements with Trump, even if he won’t say the GOP presidential frontrunner’s name.

“If I find episodes where conservatism is being disfigured, ” Ryan told, “if I see ideas and remarks that mislead the people as to who we are as Republicans, I’m going to speak out on those.”

Ryan noted that he’s twice violated his silence on 2016 — both hours to address commentaries from Trump — and he said he would continue to speak out when conservatism is being misunderstood. But he also said he’s not worried about not denouncing every controversial statement the orange-tinted real estate tycoon makes.

“I watch my role as speaker of the House as a unique role, and as chairman of the[ GOP Presidential] Convention as a unique role, ” Ryan said.

His mention of his role running the convention in Cleveland this summer also carries significance. Ryan will be in a strong position to sway Republican delegates if Trump arrives there without the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the nomination outright.

Ryan said that rather than addressing every specific issue in the ongoing primary, he would instead offer all GOP nominees a “bold” vision and ideas on which to base their messages in the fall.

When he was asked how he could reasonably work with Trump considering they are on the opposite sides of most policies — Trump wants to raise taxes on the rich, leave entitlements alone and is opposed to free trade — Ryan ducked recognise their policy disagreements.

“We’re going to speak out for who we are and what we believe. We’re going to run on our faiths, we’re going to run on our ideas, ” he told. “I’m just going to leave it at that.”

Ryan attained his comments while Mitt Romney — who chose Ryan for his vice presidential working mate in 2012 — was hammering Trump at a speech in Utah, calling the mogul a phony and a fraud .

Ryan wasn’t able to comment on Romney’s remarks, but he made clear that the last GOP standard-bearer was “a good friend.”

Of Trump he said: “I don’t really know him. We’re going to plainly get know each other if he gets the nomination, and we’ll cross those bridges when we get at it.”

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com

A more moderate Donald Trump? His savour in men shows otherwise | Angelina Chapin

1 month, 9 days ago

No matter what the president-elect says about seeking less extreme policies, the men he is choosing to surround him tell a starker story

Since Donald Trump became president-elect, hes made some attempts to soften his blowhard, tough-guy image. The former reality superstar chose against trying to imprison Hillary Clinton. Hes said his wall might be a fence and that he might keep parts of Obamacare. Trump even told perpetrators of hate crimes to stop it post-election, after consistently encouraging violence at his rallies simply months earlier.

Of course, Trump has a tendency to contradict himself ad infinitum, so no matter what he tells, its hard to gauge his actual positions on anything. The best the representatives from his true values, rather, are the people mainly men he chooses to surround him.

Trumps inner circle and cabinet appointees demonstrate the president-elect loves bullies who prize total power over inclusion. His cabinet is shaping up to be full of people who believe Constructing America Great Again is code for white, wealthy humen maintaining privilege and control over people of color, women and anybody else who cant afford a penthouse.

Eighty-five percent of Trumps picks for cabinet are men, and yes, most of them are rich and white to boot. Sure, there are women nominees, and its still early days. But theres without doubt who Trump favors, and if were known by the company we keep, his taste in white, megalomaniac humen is incredibly disturbing.

His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is the former chairman of Breitbart News, a site that regularly gushes white supremacist, anti-immigrant and antisemitic ideology. Trumps pick for national security adviser, Lt Gen Michael Flynn, is a power-hungry anti-Islamist who said on Twitter that dread of Muslims is rational, and who has retweeted antisemitic statements. Then theres Senator Jeff Sessions, Trumps choice for attorney general, a racist who allegedly said the Ku Klux Klan was OK until I found out they smoked pot.

Though Trump campaigned as the working classs savior, he boasted about nominating people to cabinet who have made a luck and is set to assemble the richest administration in modern US history. Andrew Puzder, a fast-food mogul and Trumps pick for labor secretary, is a millionaire who opposes minimum wage hikes. Trumps finance chairperson picking, Steven Mnuchin, a man with a net worth of about $40 m, and commerce secretary nomineeWilbur Ross, a billionaire, both run at Goldman Sachs. Trumps choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is a flush oil tycoon who is buddies with Vladimir Putin. The president-elect favors men whose careers have been devoted to inducing sure the 1% bide filthy rich through control of Americas finances.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Trump speaks at a summit where flyers warned homosexuality is a’ public health crisis’

1 month, 10 days ago

President Donald Trump on Friday addressed the Values Voter Summit, in Washington , D.C ., an annual event organized by the anti-LGBT Family Research Council( FRC ).

Trump, who is the first sitting U.S. chairwoman to speak at the event, said he was ” honored and thrilled” to be present at” this incredible collect of friends, so many friends .” He was received with cheers and applause.

“It’s great to be back here with so many friends at the 2017 Values Voter Summit, and we know what that means. We know what that means, ” Trump began. “America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer.” His speech included condolences for the victims of the recent Vegas shooting, the flooding in Texas and Puerto Rico, and the wildfires in California, and he talked about respect for the flag, to raucous cheers. Throughout the speech, Trump returned to themes of the nation’s unity, religion, and family values. “We love our families, we love our neighbors, we love our country, ” he told. “We cherished the sacred dignity of every human life.”

Some of the attendees might have different ideas, however: At the summit, guests received tote bags with flyers promoting an “important new book” called The Health Hazards of Homosexuality.

” Finally: the truth about this public health crisis ,” the flyer reads. It says the “’gay’ and lesbian sexual practices” are among perils to the “broader public.” The flyer adds that” lesbian and bisexual humen” are to blame for” the recent increases in STDs.” The book, authored by anti-LGBT group MassResistance, also describes the” disproportionate incidence of disease and mental disorders in the GLB community, ” according to the flyer.

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The FRC, which organized the Values Voter Summit, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which says the group’s “specialty is defaming gays and lesbians.”

Joel Kasnetz, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, also denounced Trump’s visit, according to BuzzFeed.

“Today, Donald Trump reminded us that he is one of the country’s biggest threats to LGBTQ people,” Kasnetz told BuzzFeed. “The anti-LGBTQ bigotry on display at Values Voter Summit should be rejected, but instead was honored with visits from the president and a full slate of top Republican officials.”

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump–despite being opposed to gay marriage–had positioned himself through tweets and speeches as an LGBT ally in contrast to other conservative candidates.

Since the election, however, Trump and his administration have aligned with anti-LGBT organisations, people, and policies. Notably, the LGBT page disappeared from the official White House website on the day of the inauguration, and Trump did not recognise Pride Month in June.

On Wednesday, Sen. Al Franken( D-Minn .) tweeted he is “deeply concerned by the Trump administration’s hostility to #LGBT rights.”

In his speech at the Values Voter Summit, Trump also received raucous applause for defending the religion values of Christian conservatives.

“We’re get in that beautiful Christmas season that people don’t talk about anymore, ” Trump said. “They don’t use the word Christmas because it’s not politically correct … Guess what? We’re saying’ Merry Christmas’ again.’”

Watch Trump’s full speech below.

H/ T BuzzFeed

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Paul Ryan deserts Trump campaign but won’t formally drop endorsement

1 month, 12 days ago

A day after contentious debate, the speaker of the House tells congressional members you all need to do whats best for you in your district

Top Republican Paul Ryan deserted Donald Trump on Monday after an aggressive debate attack against Hillary Clinton failed to appease mounting disgust over his attitude toward women.

The speaker of the House told congressional colleagues on a conference call that he would no longer defend Trump or campaign with him. He urged them to do whats best for you to save the partys majority and avoid giving Hillary Clinton a blank check in the White House, though stressed he was not yet formally unendorsing the partys official nominee.

A CNN poll proved 57% of respondents felt Clinton had won the second debate, as a new NBC News/ Wall Street Journal survey taken over the weekend showed her leading Trump by 11 phases among likely voters. She is 5. 8 points ahead in polling medians calculated by Real Clear Politics, a position that translates into a base of 260 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, with 165 relatively strong for Trump and 113 to play for.

Trump immediately fired back at Ryan on Twitter.Paul Ryan should expend more day on balancing the budget, employment creation and illegal immigration and not waste his time on opposing Republican nominee, wrote Trump in a blast at the House speaker with whom he has long had a bumpy relationship.

Ryan dragged his heels on endorsing Trump after the real estate developer clinched the Republican nomination in May and disinvited him from a joint appearance in Wisconsin on Saturday in the aftermath of the leaked remarks Trump made about women.

As Clinton climbed the steps to board her airliner in Westchester, New York, on Monday to depart for a campaign rally in Detroit, a reporter hollered a question about whether she believed Trump would show up for the final debate. Laughing, she responded: Yes.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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